An interesting and highly anticipated phenomenon occurred in December 2008, one that received very little fanfare.
December was a particularly busy month for Mark Zuckerberg’s high profile social network. According to Web metrics firm Hitwise, Facebook’s share of US Internet traffic hit an all time high on Christmas Eve 2008, earning 2.18% of all US Internet visits.
Perhaps more significant, the traffic volume between Myspace and Facebook intersected at the end of 2008 with Facebook surpassing MySpace according to my analysis of several traffic charts.
Was the surge in December activity, particularly Christmas Eve, a fluke or is it representative of a true shift in market share leadership?
2008 was an interesting year for both social networks. Facebook spent the first quarter of the year rolling with the swells of up and down traffic, sparking debates as to whether or not the company actually hit a plateau. MySpace, on the other hand, leveled-off and actually realized a dip in traffic from August to November.
Many experts and alpha users were also crying out with claims of social network fatigue with the onslaught of new networks as well as growing demand for participation in micro communities such as Twitter and FriendFeed.
My 2009 prediction is that Social Syndication and Aggregation will be the new content syndication and participation. Meaning, that finding social services that can broadcast your personality, expertise, thought leadership, and vision to communities that reach your audiences while utilizing a hub that allows you to participate in each community, from one place will transform and improve our foundation for success.
Facebook is a hub for finding and sharing content as well as cultivating relationships that can deliver value to all parties – all within one ecosystem. MySpace is perceived as a socially-rooted network ripe with self-indulgent personal billboards. As we all know, perception is everything. Launching a developer network is a start. Pursuing a new model for the music industry is a sound business move. Evolving the architecture and foundation of MySpace to renew the experience and provide a more effective platform for showcasing personality, expertise, and talent is going to help propel MySpace once again…among other things of course.
Either way, Facebook will continue to escalate in 2009. With the launch and proliferation of Facebook Connect, the social Web will contact and quite possibly orbit around Facebook and the individuals who power it.
It’s the difference between a network and a platform. Or expounding the example above, it’s potentially a planet versus a solar system.
UPDATE: According to Comscore, Facebook’s year-end jump in traffic may only be a preview of what’s to come. Comscore reports that MySpace still holds a notable lead as well as increased engagement time over facebook.
Here are the numbers according to Comscore’s 2008 report:
MySpace 76 million – 10% yearly growth
Facebook 55 million – 57% year growth
Classmates 16.6 million – 66% yearly growth
LinkedIn 2.9 million – 115% yearly growth
Bebo 4.9 million
Ning 3.9 million – 388% yearly growth
Related reading on PR 2.0:
– The Poetry of Social Networking to Court Customers and Invest in Relationships
– Top 40 Must Read Posts on PR 2.0 in 2008
– Twitter Tools for Community and Communications Professionals
– The Socialization of Your Personal Brand Parts I – III
– In the Social Web, We Are All Brand Managers
– The State of Social Media 2008
– The Social Revolution is Our Industrial Revolution
– The Essential Guide to Social Media
– The Social Media Manifesto
– Introducing The Conversation Prism
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